We'd love to hear from you! Do email in any stories about women and gardening you'd like to see featured

Tempted to have your own nursery or garden business? On 7th December,2013, the WFGA (Women's Farm & Garden Association) is holding a specialist workshop ‘Starting Up a Garden Business’ where they will cover the paperwork necessary, accounts, invoicing, records etc, marketing to attract business, dealing with clients and contractors. It's being held in the Cartwright Room, Canterbury Hall, 19 – 26 Cartwright Gardens, London WC1H 9EF, off Marchmont Street, nearest tube is Russell Square, is £45 per person. You don't need to be a member of the WFGA but contact them first.

AHRC funded PhD Studentship at University of Glasgow :: School of Humanities :: Latest News

Issued: Wed, 22 May 2013 08:42:00 BST

The University of Glasgow’s School of Humanities and School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, in partnership with the Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society (SAGS), are pleased to announce a three-year PhD Studentship under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) Scheme, to begin 1 October 2013. The award covers Home/EU tuition fees and provides a maintenance award of at least £13,726 per annum, and some research and training expenses, for three years. Applications for the studentship are due no later than Wednesday 19 June 2013.

The Research Project

Dr Beverley Glover: new Director of the Cambridge University Botanic Garden

Terrific news from my favourite Botanic Garden - and not just because it's my local one - the new head of the Cambridge Botanic Garden is a woman - Dr Beverley Glover. Here's what they had to say about her appointment:
Dr Beverley Glover has been named as the new Director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Dr Glover will take up the post, and the associated Professorship of Plant Systematics and Evolution to which she has been elected, in July 2013.
Dr Glover, currently Reader in Evolution and Development in the Department of Plant Sciences, said: “The Botanic Garden is a central and much-loved part of both the University and the wider community. It is a great privilege and honour to be asked to lead its continued development.
“I am very much looking forward to working with the Garden's highly-skilled and dedicated staff to develop further the collections and to ensure they play their full part in botanical research and teaching, both in the University and worldwide.”
Dr Glover read Plant and Environmental Biology at St Andrews before completing her PhD at the John Innes Centre in the molecular genetics of cellular differentiation in the plant epidermis. She came to Cambridge first as a Junior Research Fellow at Queens' College, before progressing from Lecturer to Reader in the Department of Plant Sciences.  A Fellow of the Linnean Society, she was awarded the Linnean Society Bicentennial Medal in 2010 and she received the William Bate Hardy prize from the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 2011.  

Professor Keith Richards, Chair of the Botanic Garden Syndicate, said: “We are delighted that Beverley will be the new Director of the University's Botanic Garden. She is well-known to everyone in the Garden, having served on the Syndicate for ten years, and has already made many highly-valued contributions to its outreach programme and to its integration into University teaching.
“Beverley’s own interdisciplinary work will help to strengthen the Garden's research role and build on the relationships between the Garden, the Department of Plant Sciences, the Sainsbury Laboratory, and the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.”

The Story behind those Valentine's Day flowers

Getting very excited about the opening later this week of the new exhibition at The Garden Museum,  Floriculture: Flowers, Love and Money. It's about time that the story of floristry, the 'Cinderella' trade of the horticultural industry, was told.  It opens, naturally, on Thursday 14 February, the biggest day of the year for the trade, and runs until 28 April 2013.

Here's what they say we can expect:

"Next Valentine's Day the Garden Museum will open the first exhibition to tell the story of the cut flower trade from the 17th century until today. The exhibition will also explore the inspiration of cut flowers to painters, and to the art of floristry, and their symbolism in rites of passage such as marriage, funerals, and memory.

The exhibition begins in 17th century Covent Garden: the square built by The Earl of Bedford contained a market for fruit and vegetables. Covent Garden continues to be the heart of the flower trade, whether represented by the Floral Hall, illustrations by Edward Bawden, or iconic films such as Lindsey Anderson's Everyday Excerpt Christmas, from the 1950's. The stall-holders, in their current location in Nine Elms, will be the subject of an artist's commission as we seek to record their stories of life at the Flower Market.

Until the 19th century, the wholesale trade in flowers was local, small in scale, and existed alongside allotments and Head Gardeners' cutting gardens and displays in the great house. This slowly evolved, with, in the 1880s growers of snowdrops and daffodils in Spalding, Lincolnshire, racing to supply London markets by train; by 1929 this had increased to 20 tonnes a day. In 1940, 4 million bulbs were shipped to America as payment for arms. 

The world's flower trade has increased from £1.8 billion in the 1950s to in excess of £64 billion today. After trains came planes: in 1969 the first air freighted flowers flew to the United States from Colombia. However, the globalised trade has attracted increasing controversy over its environmental impact, and allegations of exploitation of vulnerable workforces.

The exhibition will explain each side of the debate – including the new movement for "Fair Trade in flowers" – but will also be a celebration of the domestic growers, an industry which has all but vanished but may be revived by a new generation of eco -aware, creative growers.
The exhibition will follow the growth of the retail industry, from florists' shops to supermarkets; in 1979 Marks and Spencer– which had sold plants since the 1920s – first experimented with the sale of cut flowers and quickly grew to be a significant
force in the modern marketplace. 

Earlier in the century, Gertrude Jekyll and Constance Spry established floristry as an art form and a profession. The exhibition will pick out iconic weddings which have transformed taste, such as the 1961 marriage of The Duke and Duchess of Kent in York Minster or that of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2012 – masterminded by Shane Connolly, whose ideas in floral design the show will explore. 

The exhibition will look at the relationship between artists and cut flowers, through works by artists such as Stanley Spencer's view of his cutting garden at Cookham, Duncan Grant's still-lives and glimpses of the garden path at Charleston, and Cedric
Morris's masterful studies of irises. The paintings selected will capture the fragile beauty of flowers from their gardens.

Finally, we shall explore the place the beauty and quick mortality of cut flowers play in rites of life and death: marriage, funerals, and memorial shrines."


Half Term Treat for East Anglian Women Gardeners

It's no secret that I live mainly in Suffolk and love East Anglia so I was delighted to hear of a new exhibit at a museum I'd never been to - The Museum of East Anglian Life. Tucked away behind a supermarket in the mid-Suffolk town of Stowmarket (not as bad as it sounds - handy for parking!) is the delightful Abbot's Hall, a small estate that has been given to the people of East Anglia to preserve their heritage.

As part of their Heritage Lottery funding redevelopment of Abbot’s Hall – a grade 2* listed Queen Anne House – they have focussed one of their exhibition rooms on gardening in East Anglia.


The space has been titled ‘How does your garden grow’ and touches on the types of garden in East Anglia, links between farming and gardening on the local landscape, and the benefits of gardening to wellbeing.

One of their key displays relates to people that form the ‘East Anglian Inspiration’ in the garden. I was particularly delighted to see that this included objects relating toten-times gold medal winner Beth Chatto,  Xa Tollemache of Helmingham Hall and countrywoman, Peggy Cole, all of course, great Gardening Women.

There's also a wall covered in extra large plant labels where visitors are encouraged to write about what gardening means to them. 

It would be a terrific half term outing with lots for children to see and do. Full details and opening times at Museum of East Anglian Rural Life



More RHS Honours for British gardening women

Hip, Hip, Hooray

 The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has announced the recipients of its prestigious awards for outstanding contribution to horticulture. This year there are four recipients for the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH). This is the highest accolade the Society awards. Only 63 horticulturists hold the VMH at one time, marking the length of Queen Victoria's reign. This year, the awards were given to three men and Viscountess of Merton, Alice Boyd from Cornwall who receives the award for the following citation: 

'As an Honorary Fellow of the RHS Lady Boyd has given exemplary service to the charity for many years. She has served on a number of committees and was on the RHS Council for 10 years. She was also President of the Cornwall Gardens Society between 2007 and 2009.'

"I am delighted to announce the recipients of the Victoria Medal of Honour which was established in 1897 in remembrance of Queen Victoria," says Elizabeth Banks, RHS President. "These are very special people and their contribution to horticulture has been outstanding. Their work has been wide-ranging and impacts on most aspects of gardening and is an inspiration to everyone."

The charity has also announced the Veitch Memorial Awardees This Award is given to those who it is felt have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the art, science and practice of horticulture. There are five recipients this year. They include Susyn Andrews from Richmond, Surrey. 

Andrews, recently of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a world-leading horticultural taxonomist and was the co-founder and Chairman of the Horticultural Taxonomy Group. She has published over 150 scientific papers and articles, was the senior editor of Taxonomy of Cultivated Plants (1999), has sat on the ISHS Commission for Nomenclature and Registration, is an Honorary Research Associate at Kew, and currently serves on several scientific and horticultural committees. An enthusiastic gardener, her main interests are temperate and subtropical woody plants and her passion for lavenders stretches back 15 years.

Many congratulations to them both. 



Women and Their Gardens - US Edition

Phew! Gardening Women has crossed the Big Pond safely and become Women and Their Gardens. Not only that, it's being welcomed widely. In fact it's earned a four-gherkin rating ('Good, innit?') on the Anglo Addict blog - thank you so much! Here is a selection of its US reviews:

Women and Their Gardens (Ball Publishing, 9781613743379) was featured on May 2, 2012 in a gardening column in Jackson [MS] Free Press. They call it, “A terrific Mother’s Day gift idea … it’s filled with interesting lore for the 18th-century salons of Mayfair to the women gardeners of World War II.” To read the article: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/its_not_too_late_to_plant_050212/


Women and Their Gardens  was positively reviewed on TexasGardener.com (vpm n/a). They call it, “a commendable, entertaining work of historical recovery.”


Women and Their Gardens was positively reviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer (circ. 331,134) on March 30, 2012. To read the review: http://articles.philly.com/2012-03-30/news/31261601_1_gertrude-jekyll-first-gardeners-beth-chatto


Women and Their Gardens was featured with cover image on April 14, 2012 on “The Garden Bench” (blog). The blogger writes, “Focusing on the fact of history that women have often been excluded from the serious study of plants, Horwood brings these women into their rightful place in the horticultural spotlight. At more than 400 pages, there is much to be discovered about these pioneering women.” To read the article:http://thegardenbench.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/mulching-trees-and-a-stack-of-new-books/


Women and Their Gardens  was positively reviewed with cover image on April 11, 2012 on the blog Anglo Addict. They call it, “[a] lovely book … it is fascinating (and sometimes maddening) to read of how many women became involved in gardening, whether it was through being banished to the country by harsh spouses, needing to earn an income, or, occasionally, because they had the time and means to indulge their passions.” To read the review: http://www.angloaddict.com/2012/04/women-plowing-through-history.html


Women and Their Gardens  was positively reviewed with cover image on April 6, 2012 on the blog All the Dirt on Gardening. They say, “Pick it up for a friend or yourself – many hours of interesting tidbits and stories to read in it.” To read the review: http://allthedirtongardening.blogspot.com/2012/04/women-and-their-gardens-by-catherine.html